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Things to Know Before You Tow

Man hooking up a caravan

If you’re towing a caravan, a boat or a horse float, your vehicle will behave differently. You will have to adjust your manoeuvres to accommodate the length of the trailer or caravan. There’s a lot more you have to take into consideration for a safe tow trip. Take a look at our guidelines before you set out on your journey of exploration.

Things to Know Before Towing

Weight Distribution

Weight distribution systems steady your vehicle and trailer on the road. They offer you better steering control, improved braking efficiency, and more traction. They also prevent your trailer from swaying on the roads when you’re driving at high speeds. A weight distribution hitch restores the weight to the front axle. Once the load is evenly distributed, it takes less time to bring the vehicle to a complete stop. This makes a big difference when you’re travelling at a speed of 110 km/hour.

Load Capacity

The aggregate trailer mass should be less than or equal to the towing capacity of your vehicle. Refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s documents to determine the vehicle’s towing capacity and the aggregate trailer mass. The size and length of the trailer influences its towing capacity. Small single axle trailers, for instance, can handle loads of 110-120 kilos. RV trailers carry heavier loads like motorcycles, and ATVs. Always respect the manufacturer’s recommendations so you remain within the law.

Towbar Regulations

Install towbars that come marked with their rating capacity. The manufacturer’s name should also be clearly visible. There are two types of towbars available. They’re designed for lightweight and heavy-duty jobs. The towing capacity of the towbar should be higher than the laden weight of the trailer. If you’re towing trailers up to 3.5 tonnes, you will have to use a 50mm tow ball that has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 kg. Before hitting the road, always make sure the trailer is correctly loaded with the right nose load on the tow bar.

Trailer Brakes

To comply with national road regulations, you must fit a braking system if the aggregate trailer mass exceeds 750kg. The better the performance of the braking system, the less stressed out you’ll be on the road. If you’re using a boat trailer with an aggregate trailer mass higher than 2000 kilos, you’ll need independent electric brakes. Inspect your brakes regularly and replace worn out magnets when required.

Single or Tandem Axle Trailers

Tandem axle trailers are safer but they’re not as fuel efficient as single axle trailers. Both single and tandem axle trailers have their own pros and cons. If you’re going to use your trailer infrequently, you could opt for a single axle trailer. If you’re travelling long distances and you plan to do it quite often, you’ll be better off with a tandem axle trailer.

Trailer Repair and Service

You must service your trailer and towbars every year. If you want to adjust the height of the towbar or install a weight distribution hitch, get in touch with Advanced Towbars. We have a wide range of products including car towbars, nudge bars and reversing cameras.

Our towbar installers have the expertise to look after your installation needs. We know our vehicles inside out. We also work with a network of towbar suppliers who stock some of the best brands in the industry.

Call us on 1300 238 869 to find out more about our car and truck tow bars. We’ll be happy to answer all your queries.

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